Alleged Arden Hills shooter now suspected of Blaine bank robbery; police searching area


This still image was taken from surveillance video of the TCF Bank robbery in Blaine Aug. 31. (Courtesy of the Blaine Police Department)

This photo of Hoffman was taken Aug. 5, just days before the shooting. (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)

Police advise others to keep an eye out for stained money

The same man wanted for an Aug. 11 killing at an Arden Hills gas station is a suspect in a Sunday bank robbery in Blaine.

Police now suspect Lyle "Ty" Hoffman of Minneapolis of robbing a TCF Bank location at 331 County Road 10 NE around 2 p.m. Aug. 31, based on surveillance video taken during the robbery. 

The suspect, a white male wearing a white t-shirt, baseball cap, sunglasses and a beard, used a handgun during the robbery and and is said by police to possibly be stained by red dye from a dye-pack included with the undisclosed amount of money he stole.

The robbery sparked a search of the immediate area nearby the bank by both the Ramsey and Anoka County sheriff's offices that ended Sunday evening without locating the suspect.

The search picked up again early Tuesday morning with a 5 a.m. report that Hoffman had been seen near the Anoka County-Blaine Airport. Police and SWAT teams continue to search the area.

Hoffman, 44, allegedly shot and killed Kelly L. Phillips, 48, after the two arrived in the same car at the Holiday gas station on Highway 96 near Interstate 35W. The two were reportedly arguing and exited the car, at which point a witness said Hoffman allegedly shot Phillips three times including at least once in the head, got back into the car and fled.

The car, a 2011 BMW, was located in Blaine that night. The area around the Anoka County-Blaine Airport was searched Aug. 12.

Phillips was a vice president and general counsel at Boston Scientific as well as an owner of Lush Food Bar, a nightclub in Northeast Minneapolis. Phillips and Hoffman had previously been co-owners of the club and had been dating, though both the business and romantic relationships had ended in the past couple of years.

Crime Stoppers of Minnesota is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to Hoffman's arrest and conviction. 

Police have long thought that unknown persons have been aiding Hoffman in eluding arrest, and reminded anyone who might have helped him that it is a felony to do so.

"We are urging anyone who has had contact with Mr. Hoffman, or has harbored or assisted him in any way since the murder of Mr. Phillips, to voluntarily come forward immediately," an Aug. 15 statement from the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators have speculated that Hoffman could be hiding in a number of places, going as far afield as Canada, Mexico and Belize, before the Blaine bank robbery refocused the search back to the Twin Cities metro area.

The sheriff's office says anyone who encounters Hoffman should not approach him, as he is still considered armed and dangerous. They say anyone who sees him should call 911; call Minnesota Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8744 to report a tip.

--Mike Munzenrider

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